2/4/13 2:26 AM | Johan Lindahl
Rafael Nadal had a weekend VIP visit with Chile's star-struck president before travelling to Vina del Mar for his first competitive tennis in more than seven months as the Spaniard re-boots his career on clay.
The visit of tennis royalty went down well in the capital of Santiago, with Nadal vowing to make the best of his time on court despite niggling problems with his knees.
"It's been seven months since I've competed,"said world the No. 5. "This will be my first time playing in a very long time. Anything can happen. I'll try not to let it happen, but you have to be prepared for everything and be patient. You have to start somewhere. I think this is the right moment and the right place."
The Spaniard said his problem left knee is doing as well as can be expected even after the longest absence of his career. "It's much better. That's the most important thing now because there's no risk of a big injury.
"But it's still bothering me, which will keep me from playing all the time, which I would like to do. I'm here to give the best I have right now, and hope the knee holds up."
Nadal will start with baby steps at the ATP 250 event, playing doubles with friend Juan Monaco and beginning his singles after a bye. He has Latin starts planned for Brazil and Mexico before a rich exho on hardcourt in New York. He will then attempt to play on cement at the Indian Wells and Miami Masters 1000 events in March.
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